I’m Also a Novelist: Interesting Search Terms

Someone—I’ll assume it’s one visitor making two visits, rather than two different people using the same search phrase—found my blog today by searching for:

  • butt charlinder black ass

…and the strange part is that it doesn’t seem to have brought them to any of my book-related pages.

It’s a curiously random combination of words, but even so, my first literary protagonist is a multiracial-black young man named Charlinder, and he does a lot of interesting things in my debut novel, Charlinder’s Walk, and I will admit that there are some women who enjoy his fine ass. If all that mountain-climbing doesn’t give him an impressive backside, then he must have had a gorgeous pair of glutes to begin with.

Most of you may not be looking for man-butt in particular, but I am a writer of original fiction, and if you’ve been enjoying my Game of Thrones posts, and/or my social-justice writing, you may also enjoy my novels. If you’re on Goodreads, add Charlinder’s Walk to your shelf. It’s only $4.99 on Kindle. If Charlinder’s Walk seems too weird for you, you may still enjoy my urban fantasy/women’s fiction, Suicide is for Mortals. It’s only $2.99 on Kindle. It features vampires and other paranormal creatures written for readers who are tired of vampires and paranormal creatures. There’s more info available under the “I Write Books” tab at the top. Give either or both of my books a peek, if you enjoy my blog. Also, I have a Facebook page you might like.

Hauling a laptop around on the Metro is too much hassle.

The final countdown for Suicide is for Mortals has be-guuuuuuun!

I won’t make any promises. I STILL say it’ll take as long as it takes and I care more about quality than speed. (Insert me grousing about day job and other obligations getting in the way.)

However. Regardless of how little time I have to spare, and how quickly I intend to get my novel out to the public, I can say this: the second round of suggested changes just came back from my editor on Tuesday morning.

I’d really like to be able to do as much revising as possible on the iPad, but that’s difficult for a number of reasons. Really long documents, like the 100K words I put into a book, tend to be rough on iPad apps. I don’t spend a lot of time on working with the whole book all in one file, but that seems to be the default approach to editing, so it would help if I could easily open up the Word file from my editor on the iPad to look at her notes.

I’m a Scrivener enthusiast, and I prefer to have my work broken up into lots of smaller files, kept together in a folder and arranged in a particular order. There’s still no Scrivener for iPad, and until there is, I like having an iPad app that can deal with a Scrivener project. For much of the drafting and revising up until recently, I used Notebooks and synced with Scrivener through Dropbox. That’s the closest thing to a Scrivener mirror that exists on an iPad so far! (There are iPad versions of Manuscript and Storyist, which do pretty much the same thing as Scrivener, but the programs are not mutually cooperative. I’m already using Scrivener and I need something that can work with it.) The only deficiency is that Notebooks cannot edit RTF files. You can create a formatted document in Notebooks and export it as HTML, but then it’ll be read-only in Scrivener.

That’s not a problem particular to Notebooks, though: it’s very difficult to find an iPad app that can edit RTF files. Textilus is the app that’ll come up the most if you Google the subject, but Textilus just doesn’t do what I need it to do. Maybe I just can’t figure out how to use it correctly, but I need an app that’ll allow me to access offline a folder full of dozens of RTF files, and I just can’t find a way to make Textilus do that. It’s all about the individual files, and that is not efficient for what I’m trying to do.

(Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “Boy, am I glad I don’t try to use anything fancier than paper notebooks and MS Word.” I see where you’re coming from, but there are very good reasons to use Scrivener or an equivalent app for writing in long form. The paper notebooks can still be part of the workflow. If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, you’ll thank me later.)

Yeah, so, I’d like to be able to edit rich-text documents on my iPad while keeping them together in the right arrangement. Plain text is fine up to a point, but eventually you need to make sure the right words are italicized or underlined, and it’s very handy to be able to do that with a tablet on your lap while you commute on the subway.

Until the people at Literature & Latte release an iPad version of Scrivener, there aren’t really an good options. (They’re working on an iPad version. The last update on their blog was over a year ago.) I seem to have come up with an okay option, and it involves using Google Drive.

The advantages to Google Drive are that it’s free, it accommodates offline editing of rich text, and it allows the user to create their own file hierarchies (aka folder system). The disadvantages are that it requires working in a proprietary file format and isn’t interested in Dropbox sync. The user gets around the proprietary format by downloading the files in a familiar format, such as RTF, but I don’t think it’s possible to make Google Drive work with Scrivener as smoothly as, for example, Notebooks.

The workflow I set up recently was: Set up the Scrivener project to sync with a folder on the desktop, and to use RTF files; upload those RTF files to a folder on Google Drive, set to convert uploads to Google Docs format; make all those files available for offline mode on the iPad; edit the files in Google Docs format on the iPad wherever I happen to be; download the Google Docs files in RTF back to the desktop folder; sync back to the Scrivener project.

I haven’t gotten as far as editing the Google Docs files yet, but this should be workable.

I also put a PDF copy of the full manuscript, with my editor’s comments visible, in PDF Cabinet today.

“There were no barriers to sitting down at a computer…”

Here is another little snippet from Suicide is for Mortals. This is Meliana’s POV, talking about Miranda:

She insisted that there were no barriers of mental health, competence or moral integrity to sitting down at a computer with Internet access. (Regarding mental health, she used herself in her post-Presidential years as an example.)

And so Meliana learns an important lesson about the disadvantages of the Digital Age.

I am sick and still overworked at the office job. I’m still working on the novel, though, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready to find an editor after this round of revision. There are only a few more chapters to go.

No Such Thing as Life Without Risk

I’m still revising Suicide is for Mortals. It’s a compulsion and a coping mechanism. Coping for what, is difficult to explain. Here is a little snippet from the book, via Scanlon Ness’s POV:

This is the evolutionary juggling act of every animal species in the wild: kill without being killed. Find plenty of food without exposing yourself to predators. It’s a constant tug-of-war between the threat of starvation and the threat of violence, whether it be predation or competition. There’s no such thing as life without risks. An individual can simplify the balance of risk by surviving on little food, but a species cannot survive without offspring, and cubs mean more mouths to feed and more habitat to defend.

Sometimes, a cub will stray outside the pack’s territory and need to be located and retrieved. The pack could arguably prevent such security breaches from recurring by killing the offending cub, but a pack cannot afford to make a habit of killing its young. This is especially salient if the species is slow to breed.

I am having a highly productive vacation.

I am pleased to announce that yesterday, I finished the first round of revision on Suicide is for Mortals.




This is not to say the hard part is over, as I haven’t even reached out to an editor yet, but it is a milestone.

I’m sure the part where I’m convinced the book sucks and I should give up on life will come after I see an editor’s feedback.

For now, though, I’m having a great time with this sucka!

Maybe the Storytimes should be left alone?

I feel like I should be posting more here from Suicide is for Mortals, but at this point, I think that’ll be memes. I started revising the text yesterday (!!!) and because I’m a weirdo, I actually enjoy this process, but the practical upshot is that the text is changing. Some of the snippets I’ve posted already look different. This is a good sign, but not so good for sharing excerpts.